Up to speed The groundbreaking science of women athletes

Christine Yu, 1976-

Book - 2023

"Over the last fifty years, women have made extraordinary advances in athletics. More women than ever are playing sports and staying active longer. Whether they're elite athletes looking for an edge or enthusiastic amateurs, women deserve a culture of sports that helps them thrive: training programs and equipment designed to work with their bodies, as well as guidelines for nutrition and injury prevention that are based in science and tailored to their lived experience. Yet too often the guidance women receive is based on research that fails to consider their experiences or their bodies. So much of what we take as gospel about exercise and sports science is based solely on studies of men. The good news is, this is finally changing.... Researchers are creating more inclusive studies to close the gender data gap. They're examining the ways women can boost athletic performance, reduce injury, and stay healthy. Sports and health journalist Christine Yu disentangles myth and gender bias from real science, making the case for new approaches that can help women athletes excel at every stage of life, from adolescence to adulthood, through pregnancy, menopause, and beyond. She explains the latest research and celebrates the researchers, athletes, and advocates pushing back against the status quo and proposing better solutions to improve the active and athletic lives of women and girls" --

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2nd Floor New Shelf 796.082/Yu (NEW SHELF) Due Nov 18, 2023
New York : Riverhead Books 2023.
Main Author
Christine Yu, 1976- (author)
Physical Description
xxvii, 301 pages ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 267-289) and index.
  • Introduction: Mind the gap
  • Where are all the women?
  • More than just hormonal
  • Period power
  • Fast fuel
  • The long game
  • The dreaded female body
  • Bounce control
  • Beyond shrink it and pink it
  • The phenom years
  • Family matters
  • The change
  • Conclusion: Beyond the gap.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Journalist Yu debuts with an illuminating survey of how researchers have overlooked women athletes and what science says about what they need to achieve. She covers the challenges women athletes face, including a paucity of research, assumptions that women's bodies function identically to men's, and ill-fitting gear originally designed for men and shrunk down. Highlighting the institutional lack of support for women athletics, Yu notes that a review of academic studies on athletic performance found only 34% of subjects were women and that another analysis found Division I schools spend 71¢ on women's teams for every dollar they spend on men's. She tells stories about the creative solutions women have devised to navigate the male-dominated sports world and recounts how amateur runner Lisa Lindahl started the first sports bra company in 1977 with a design based around two jockstraps. Yu also provides guidance on how women can enhance their performance, recommending they prioritize calorie intake to keep up energy levels and tailor their workout routine to their menstrual cycle (though she doesn't get into specifics, writing that what works for one woman won't necessarily work for someone else). Yu's overview of the many ways women athletes are underserved enrages, and her mastery of the scientific literature impresses. This is a valuable contribution to the growing science on women in sports. (May)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

How to nurture women athletes. Based on scientific papers and more than 140 interviews with athletes, parents, coaches, and researchers, this book by sports and health journalist Yu, who is also an athlete and yoga teacher, takes a close look at the challenges faced by women in sports, where their performance, training, and needs have long been assessed against norms and data gathered from men. Historically, women were discouraged from participating in athletics, believed to be inherently physically inferior to men. Moreover, they were told by doctors and teachers that they risked harming their reproductive systems if they invested their energy in sports. Even after women became increasingly engaged in athletics, sports science focused on men, whose bodies set standards for nutrition, endurance, treating injuries, and even designing gear and clothing. Clothing manufacturers, for example, came late to offering a range of sports bras that provided comfort and support. The onus, therefore, has been "placed on women to overcome the obstacles inherent in a system that was rigged against them from the get-go." With more women involved in research in the 1980s, though, the focus has shifted, revealing surprising information on their abilities and potential, such as the impact of women's menstrual cycle on performance; their nutritional needs and risk of undernutrition; and their aerobic capacity, muscle endurance, and ability to metabolize fat that gives them an advantage in sports such as distance running. Yu addresses three stages in women's lives during which profound physical changes must be acknowledged: adolescence, pregnancy and the postpartum period, and menopause. Muscular, skeletal, hormonal, and psychological changes during adolescence, for example, should factor into a girl's training regimen, which too often emphasizes early specialization. More informed guidance by coaches and intervention by nutritionists might keep girls from dropping out in discouragement. Yu urges more research and awareness of the scientific evidence that has emerged to "celebrate women's unique abilities." A brisk, well-researched study of athletic performance. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.